On reading Christopher Ram’s letter in Sunday Stabroek about persons the APNU+AFC government removed but other persons they kept after it came to power, I saw where he left out two names and one situation that on the basis of perception, conjure up thoughts of the practice of ethnic politics by the present regime. No member of the current government can be that silly not to know that it must defeat perceptions that can hurt them. This government doesn’t seem to understand that cardinal rule, or care to.
The case of Emily Dodson is certainly one that should cause the analyst to question whether the new dispensation isn’t practising what the old dispensation did, that is, politics based on race. I would like to quote from two columns of mine on Emily Dodson’s appointment to the Public Procurement Commission.
On August 11, 2016, I wrote in a column titled, ‘Emily Dodson and the psyche of the PNC,’ the following: “Context is everything in life. We come now to context in the Emily Dodson’s choice. Ms Dodson, a few months ago won a judgement in the High Court that has tremendous implications and sensitive consequences for Guyana. In that ruling, Bharrat Jagdeo could run for a third term for the presidency. Unless the Appeal Court rules, before 2020, against the third term option for Mr Jagdeo, he can hold the presidency (if he wins) for a third term. The question David and I asked ourselves is why the APNU+AFC’s choice of Emily Dodson for the Procurement Commission taking into considerations two contextual points – there are over three hundred lawyers in Guyana that could function competently in the Commission and secondly, would the Jagdeo case not be a logical consideration when Ms Dodson’s name came up. It was not. Someone in the PNC leadership felt that Ms Dodson was the right choice and that her case for Mr Jagdeo’s third term was not important to disqualify her. For me, logics [sic] come in. Why Dodson and not another lawyer seeing that there was the Jagdeo case? All I am asking in this column is for someone to show me the logical thinking behind the Dodson choice.”
For me the Emily Dodson case is a more graphic example of race politics and maybe Mr Ram forgot about it. I do not think the PNC would have selected under any circumstances, the way it picked Ms Dodson, an Indian lawyer who had fought that case for Mr Jagdeo. The PNC would have viewed him as an Indian whose politics is Indianized. To think the context of what Dodson did could not matter for the PNC is simply unbelievable.
The other example is Mike Khan at the Georgetown Hospital. A forensic audit showed Khan did not commit any illegalities. Yet he was removed but Elizabeth Harper was recalled. Even if these two decisions are not race based, then the perception among Indians is that they are. And perceptions play an immeasurable role in elections.
The third case is the situation where only African-Guyanese lawyers were selected to prosecute former administration officials, of which ninety-nine per cent would be Indians. Even if no ethnic motive was at work, then the PNC and people like Nagamootoo must know it looks and will look terrible in the eyes of Indian people. Finally, even if the PNC did not want Chris Ram on the procurement commission, surely, it should have insisted on Goolsarran. The leaders of this government are not only ungrateful and unprincipled, but are highly dishonest. Their integrity should be questioned.